September 17, 2007

What are we getting for our OWWA & PhilHealth payments?

Below are interesting letters sent to Inquirer by our fellow OFWs. I have exactly the same question as the Title.

When you read the news or you listen to our politicians, OFWs often get praises for being new modern heroes of our country. We all know also that OFW remittances are the saviour of Philippine economy. But come to think of it, what benefits do we get from the government? If you read below, you will find out the sentiments of OFWs. I am lucky not to experience any of those but personally I really get frustrated with the poor government service at POEA or at the airport, etc. I will not rant and write a litany of every incident I have encountered but if you are an OFW, I'm sure you know what I am talking about.

What are we getting for our OWWA & PhilHealth payments?
INQUIRER.netLast updated 04:31pm (Mla time) 09/17/2007

To fellow Overseas Filipino Workers and concerned Filipino citizens all over the world:

It is so sad to know that when we need to seek "financial benefits" from our government, paid from own pocket, we have to go through like hell, and at the end we get nothing.

I may not have directly experienced this but I have been seeing it with my own eyes, hearing it directly from the affected people over and over again every time I am at POEA OWWA-PhilHealth Section.

One OFW who went to POEA main office caught my attention - an OFW beneficiary whose parent was hospitalized. The OWWA office in their provincial branch asked him (the OFW himself) to bring other documents until he got irritated as they kept on asking him to come back, asking for so many papers. It was as if they were begging for something the OFW had already paid!
The OFW stopped going back and forth as they had spent so much in transportation fare as though they would be reimbursed for it and the time spent. As we all know transportation fare is not cheap anymore. You also stand in the long queue and some government employees are not really accommodating when asked all these things.

Let's pray for our fellow OFW, ROBERT PANGANIBAN, who was once a philanthropist for fellow Filipinos who were in dire need of help, doe him to overcome the challenges of lung cancer. It is tough to be in his situation as a cancer patient but it is also tough to accept and know that OWWA will not cover his status as we thought before, though we are still hoping that our government will heed his needs and his right to the monetary benefits he has paid for being an OWWA and PhilHealth member.

of P2,175.00 (P1275 + 900) per OFW VALID FOR ONE YEAR ONLY and it is a MUST to pay again for our travel exit clearance requirement....Bato bato sa langit, ang aming dalangin na huwag po sana tayo bilang OFW magkasakit including your beneficiaries while an active OFW


Isa rin po akong OFW na nagtrabaho sa Maritime Industrial Services sa Sharjah, United Arab Emirates at last July 31, 2007 y umuwi po ako ng Pilipinas dahilan sa karandaman. Sa St. Luke Medical Center ay napag-alaman na ako po ay may Lung Cancer at ito ay nasa 4th Stage at hindi na puede ang anp mang operasyon. Tanging combined Chemotherapy at Radiation Therapy na lamang po ang lunas at ang disability ko po ay nalagay sa Total Permanent. Bilang isang aktibong miyembro at contributor sa OWWA at alang-alang na rin sa tiwala at paniniwala ko sa magaganda nilang mga programa tulad ng Insurance and Health-Care Program Benefits sa bawat miyembro ng bawat OFW, ay nagsadya po kami ng maybahay ko sa mismong opisina ng OWWA upang mag file ng aplikasyon para sa anumang tulong na kanilang maipagkakaloob.

Subalit nadismaya po ako at ang aking maybahay dahil sinabi po sa amin na hindi ako qualified dahil ang disability ko na Total Permanent ay resulta ng karandaman at ang sinasagot lamang at tinutulungan ay iyong mga OFW na miyembro ng OWWA na nagkaroon ng disability dahilan sa AKSIDENTE. Kaya naisip ko tuloy, lumalagay na balewala o walang kuwenta ang binabayaran ko na OWWA MEMBERSHIP sa tuwing aalis ako pagkatapos ng aking bakasyon bawat taon.

Tayong OFW na sinasabi nila na mga Bagong Bayani ang nagpapasok ng malaking halaga ng dolyar sa ating bansa. Tayo ang direktang nalalagay sa mga panganib, sa mga hindi maayos na kapaligiran na kung saan ay ipinagkakaroon natin ng karamdaman. Tapos ngayon, kapag lalapit tayo sa OWWA upang humingi ng tulong ay sasabihin nila na HINDI PUEDE KAPAG ANG DISABILITY AY RESULTA NG KARANDAMAN... Mga kasama at kapwa kong OFW, sa palagay n'yo kaya ay tama at katanggap tanggap ang nasabing aksiyon ng OWWA? Naging karanasan ko na po last Friday (Sept. 7, 2007) kaya naipasya ko po na ipaabot sa inyo - na mga kapwa ko OFW. Ang karandaman ay maaaring dumating sa kahit na sinong OFW kaya hindi man ako matulungan, sana - kayo na naririyan pa ay magtulong-tulong at magkaisa na hilingin sa Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) na huwag lamang ang NAAKSIDENTE o NAMATAY na OFW ang nararapat na tulungan.
Dapat sana, basta OFW - bilang Bagong Bayani ng ating bansa na nangangailangan ng tulong o benepisyo ay nararapat lamang na tumanggap ng karampatang tulong. Kapag pupuwedi, ipaabot o ipaki-forward kay Mrs. Letty Castillo "letty" at sa mga kapwa natin OFW na pupuedeng abutin ng e-mail kong ito upang magkaroon po sila ng kabatiran tungkol sa ilang Programa ng OWWA. Ninahangad ko rin na sana'y dinggin ako o tayo ni asalukuyang OWWA Administrator - si Hon. Marianito D. Roque.

Every year or every time we're going back to our home country, it is a must for us to pay our OWWA Membership and PhilHealth of P2,175.00 (P1275+900) per OFW, as a Requirement for travel exit clearance upon exiting the Philippines to go back to the country where we are deployed for work. Being an OFW, it is our "OFW MEDICAL PROTECTION" while working away from our home country.

Ang inyong kasama at kapwa OFW, Roberto E. Panganiban Forwarded by Isabel Saguinsin

Thank you so much for forwarding to ME these testimonies from our OFW-OWWA brothers.

W H Y can't we do something to stop this anomalies/improper treatment of the GOV'T to the OFW-OWWA. What is their saying "BAYANI NG BAYAN"? They are very much aware that OFW-OWWA has the biggest contribution/remittances back home.

Who has the guts to question the government to find out where are the contributions to the OFW-OWWA? We claim that we are all educated. WHY can we not do something to protect OFW-OWWA and their families back home? Why we are all tongue-tied? Are we all blind to what is happening to us? Kung tutuusin, we can elect our own president, build our own hospital, pay our own doctors, build our own schools/ universities where our children can study. How many OFWs are there in the world?

I hope you don't mind of my own pananaw; our life being that of a family of OFW-OWWA. Of course, you have to go back home to retire. How do you find yourself in those years? Nasaan ang pinaghirapan mo?

Nitz Sembrano

Dear All, Different story but same conclusion – I met an accident as an OFW and went home with the aid of wheel chair. My employer shouldered all expenses during my deportation. When I regained my physical fitness, I went to OWWA to file for medical support but the officer just told me that I get nothing from OWWA since my company already paid everything!

Another type of milking cow from OFW is the Philhealth which also happened to me. I paid a premium every year and you have to pay it once for one-year validity but all your contribution are USELESS once your premium for the next month is missed and unfortunately it is the time that you are going to use it as your loved ones got sick and confined in the hospital.

Where are my contributions for several years?

Best medical benefit is in Taiwan - everyday you are in the hospital or you underwent an operation, you just pay a registration fee of NT$50, then ALL expenses including medicines (or minimum of 95%) are shouldered by the Taiwan Medicare.

In the Philippines, only 15% is shouldered by the Medicare, excluding medicines, which are very costly in the Philippines! We hope that everything will become better. Ed V. Francisco

I have the same experience when I recently came home for my annual vacation. My wife got sick and unfortunately it coincided with the expiration of my annual membership. We went to the office of Philhealth Insurance to pay my annual dues but was refused unless I show them a new contract. How on earth does this agency associate itself with the word INSURANCE?Our predicament never happens with any immediate family member of government officials simply because everything favorable is accessible to them in terms of healthcare; so how on earth will they ever feel the agony when an OFW gets into a tight corner brought by sudden illness?Our health insurance was done in the Philippines and not on foreign soil. Their existence and prevailing insensitive policies in dealing with OFW's who are out of the country during the effectivity of the insurance strengthens the evidence that our government officials, particularly those who are given the responsibility of looking after our welfare as OFW's (POEA and OWWA), are playing deaf and blind simply because of the huge amount of benefits and goodies they receive from a "benevolent" PhilHealth Insurance and similar agencies.

You don't have to be a super mathematician to figure out how much P 2,175.00 per OFW per year will sum up when you talk about 1,000.0 OFW's renew their policy each day for just ten days! And all these amounts simply vanish into thin air just after 365 days in the hands of an agency whose top positions are manned by the country's best minds? Some people are so sensitive they cannot stand the sound of the word s-h-a-m-e. Our government officials on the other hand would regain the trust, appreciation and love of people they are supposed to lead when they kneel, pray and ask God the almighty to help them live each day with compassion to those who leave their family behind by force of circumstance, not by choice, in order to earn a living.

Noel Jola, Filipino father and OFW( Group/Off-Site AreaTasnee Ethylene Project

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